- Distribution Networks
- Grid Infrastructure
Cooking Up a Solution for Household Pollution in Developing Countries
In 2016, the United Nations (UN) adopted a series of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 7 states, “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy.” The term sustainable and modern energy includes the increased integration of automated infrastructure, clean emissions, and renewable energies. With more than 97 million people having gained access to electricity since 2016, strides are being made toward this goal. However, nearly 3 billion people rely on fossil fuel and biofuels for cooking and heating, accounting for more than 2.8 million deaths per year. Access to clean electricity and innovative infrastructure can play a key role in clean cooking methods.
Microgrids provide a potential solution as they can integrate into preestablished communities and address infrastructure challenges to provide energy access. As defined by Navigant Research, a microgrid is a distribution network incorporating a variety of possible distributed energy resources that can be optimized and aggregated into a single system. This system can balance loads and generation with or without energy storage and is capable of islanding whether connected or not connected to a traditional utility power grid.
Navigant Research’s report, Microgrid Deployment Tracker 2Q19, shows how microgrids are playing a key role in the distribution of the electricity grid for consumers around the world. Though microgrids create accessible and clean energy, they come with significant upfront costs. In developing countries, these costs can act as an enormous barrier. The UN has called upon the private sector to create innovative business models that accelerate the adoption of clean energy and clean cooking. Examples of companies pioneering this industry are 10Power and PowerGen Renewable Energy.
10Power is a Certified B-Corporation dedicated to investing in renewable energy infrastructure in developing countries. The company works with community leaders to provide useful and helpful microgrid investments. Recently, 10Power financed solar equipment within a commercially led solar project in Haiti. Customers will not owe more than their original electric bill and could even pay less throughout this transformation.
PowerGen Renewable Energy
PowerGen Renewable Energy is a private utility based in Arusha, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The organization has successfully developed more than 50 microgrids across Africa to connect consumers to clean energy. PowerGen Renewable Energy believes microgrids are one of the first steps in revolutionizing Africa’s power grid. Power Gen Renewable Energy is a member of Africa Minigrid Developers Association.
As microgrids are used as a technology to empower communities and create healthy living spaces, breaking the barriers of upfront cost is essential. In this way, the private sector can play a pivotal role in the adoption of microgrids. With greater connectivity and distributed options for electricity, we can expect a cleaner future—inside and outside the home.